Starling Travel

October 10, 2014

How To Make Coffee With A Percolator

Filed under: Camping,Food — Laura Moncur @ 12:47 pm

We always stay at a campsite with electricity, but I keep hope alive that someday we will boondock, so when we do, I want to be able to have a good day and a day isn’t good unless I’ve had my coffee.

So, I found this percolator at the local thrift shop:

How To Make Coffee With A Percolator from Starling Travel

If you aren’t lucky enough to find one at a thrift shop, you can find one here at Amazon: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator at

I remember my grandmother making coffee every morning with one of these, but I had no idea how to use one. This video helped me greatly.

I never remembered my grandma having filters, so I tried it without them. It wasn’t a good idea. I had a lot of grounds escape into the pot.

Use A Filter When You Make Coffee With A Percolator from Starling Travel

And into my cup.

Use A Filter When You Make Coffee With A Percolator from Starling Travel

After buying some filters (they were at my local grocery store), I felt like an idiot because they were so cheap. I tried again, and I didn’t have any grounds in my coffee that time.

Other than the lack of filters incident, the percolator worked out really well. The video recommends percolating for fifteen minutes. That time depends on how far up the mountain you are. Where I live, ten minutes was great. I’m sure you need less time if you’re near sea level and more time if you’re up high in the mountains. Be forewarned that it might take a couple of tries to get the perfect cup.

Additionally, there are a few other options if you are boon docking. Here is a propane coffee maker from Coleman: Coleman Portable Propane Coffeemaker with Stainless Steel Carafe at

Coleman Portable Propane Coffeemaker with Stainless Steel Carafe at

This guy thought it was pretty good:

It costs 84 bucks, which is WAY more than the four dollar thrift store find, but more importantly, it takes up so much space! That little percolator can double as a simple pot to boil water in, so it takes ZERO space in my trailer because it replaces my old one. If I do have electricity, I can just use a hot plate and the percolator instead of packing a automatic drip coffeemaker. The only benefit to that propane coffeemaker is that it is quick. You don’t have to wait fifteen minutes for the coffee to brew.

There is also this option that works on 12 volt power: Roadpro RPSC-784 12-Volt Quick Cup Coffee Maker with 16 oz. Metal Carafe at

Roadpro RPSC-784 12-Volt Quick Cup Coffee Maker with 16 oz. Metal Carafe at

This one works by plugging into your car or RV 12v system. The only problem with it is that it’s just as slow as the percolator. This guy tested with his solar system. It doesn’t draw much power, which is good, but it takes fifteen minutes to brew a pot.

Additionally, it only does a couple cups of coffee. With a good percolator, you can make 10 cups in the same amount of time. So, I decided on the percolator: small, easy to store, and inexpensive.

Now, I just need to convince Mike that we can do boondock camping…

September 17, 2014

A Perfect Campsite

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 12:56 pm

I saw this picture on truckinu’s Flickr site and it looked perfect to me!

A Perfect Campsite from Starling Travel

From the modern teardrop trailer to the changing tent to the tarp on the picnic table, this campsite looks like the perfect place to relax.

September 2, 2014

A 1968 Glaspar Motorboat on Sand Hollow Reservoir

Filed under: Boating — Laura Moncur @ 10:04 am

Kayaking at Sand Hollow UT 06-16-12For over TWO years, I have coveted Stacey and Dan’s kayaks. I wrote about them here:

Back then, I said:

Stacey and Dan did much better with their fancy boats, but our poor little inflatable just couldn’t take the Southern Utah desert heat. It was a wonderful kayaking adventure, but next time, Mike and I might need something a little more substantial.

That was Labor Day weekend in 2012. We have been back to Sand Hollow many times, but each time, I skipped the kayak ride. Our little Sea Eagles just couldn’t take the heat and were difficult to row. I dreamed of someday buying cool kayaks like Stacey and Dan’s, but they were SO EXPENSIVE! The one that could hold Mike, Sean and I was over $1000.

If we each wanted our own, we would have spent over $3000.

Then Mike discovered old fiberglass motorboats. He obsessively watched the local classifieds, looking for one that could take all of us and even a few extra passengers. Before I knew it, he found one in good condition with a motor that WORKED! All for only $999.

We took it out on Sand Hollow yesterday and it worked beautifully!

1968 Glaspar Motorboat from Starling Travel

Of course, we were too terrified to take pictures of it while we were on the water, so these snapshots on land will have to do.

1968 Glaspar Towed by a Subaru Crosstrek XV from Starling Travel

We towed it with our Subaru Crosstrek XV and it pulled like a dream. No problems and went into the water just fine.

TWO years ago, I wanted something more substantial, never realizing that a REAL boat was less money than my dreams of an inflatable kayak. Can’t wait to show you footage of it on the water. SO MUCH FUN!

March 14, 2014

Camping 30s Style

Filed under: Camping,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 10:08 am

I love this photo of a camper and tent from the 1930s.

I just realized that we are a mere sixteen years away from 2030 and only six slim years from the 2020s. It seems crazy to me because the phrase The Twenties refers to the 1920s in my mind, but suddenly, we are on the cusp of a different Twenties.

And as strange as that sounds, humans have been living in tents for THOUSANDS of years. Sure the animal hides were replaced by canvas and then replaced by lightweight nylon, but the basic shelter of the tent has been around for longer than the memory of man. It’s awe inspiring to me and it answers that question I keep asking, “Why does it feel so good to go camping?” Because it is hardwired into my cavewoman brain.

March 12, 2014

RVillage: It’s Our Village

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 1:10 pm

I’ve just heard about RVillage and signed up for it. It’s a way for fellow RVers to get in touch with each other and for you to see who is in the RV site where you may be.

RVillage is a new site for RVers

Here’s the description of it from Technomadia:

The core idea of RVillage is to create a very simple (and free) tool for RVers to connect with each other – not just online, but right in the RV parks and places they are currently staying in.

When a user checks into a location in RVillage, they can discover the things that they have in common with other RVers right around them.

This sure beats leaving connections up to chance encounters while walking the cat, or the random stranger coming up asking “what type of engine is in that thing?” while you are busy dumping the tanks.

I like the idea of seeing other people who might be in your campground before we meet them, but it seems strange to me. What do I do? Just start wandering the campground calling the name of fellow RVillagers? I like the idea and I think it’s a great idea to do meet ups, though. I’m giving it a try and I hope you do as well. Then all my best friends will be signed up and ready to roll!

March 9, 2014

Two-Story Trailer from RV Travel

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers — Laura Moncur @ 10:20 am

This is a GREAT video from RV Travel about a two story trailer. Her father built a second story onto a 1955 Spartan.

She lived in that trailer from the time she was three years old until she went away to college in 1969! Her family traveled all over in that trailer and her parents lived in it until they died!

What an awesome story!

Via: RV Travel – The video we did of the classic two-story trailer has…

March 8, 2014

Tuacahn Teardrop

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 2:16 pm

My father-in-law sent me this photo of a teardrop trailer and matching retro truck that he saw at the Tuacahn Saturday Market. Click the photo to see the full-sized version.

Tuacahn Teardrop from Starling Travel

It had a for sale sign on it, but they didn’t ask how much it was going for. I just love seeing these retro teardrops!

March 6, 2014

Waterproofing Your Tent or Tent Trailer

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers,Tents — Laura Moncur @ 5:27 pm

I had a comment on one of my entries from Christine Swalgin:

One a side note: my bed end canvas never sees rain, I tarp the whole camper length wise and tether the ends down to the bumper and tongue. Seems that are canvas to vinyl leak no mater what and the ends pool. Still trying to engineer a better solution.

I was just going to email Christine and tell her about waterproofing options, but then I realized that other people might want to know about this.

Kiwi Camp Dry, Heavy Duty Water Repellent, 12oz at Amazon.comMost tents and tent trailers have treated canvas or nylon to keep out water. Unfortunately, these treatments don’t last forever and need to be redone every few years, especially along the seams. There are lots of products on the market that can be used.

You need to treat the tent outside and make sure you don’t inhale the fumes. Here is a video from one of the manufacturers about how to treat fabrics.

It helps to give the tent plenty of time to dry, so make sure you can leave your tent out and deployed for six hours or so.

Mike and I found out the hard way that our tent trailer was in desperate need of waterproofing in a huge storm last August. We haven’t camped in another storm since, but we are eager to see how the waterproofing will hold.

February 26, 2014

Tent Camping and Kids Up A Tree

Filed under: Camping,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

I adore this photo I found on Flickr today.

Tent Camping and the Kids Up A Tree from Starling Fitness

Keep River National Park is in the Northern Territory of Australia. Here is a map:

Yesterday, I said that RVing gave us a freedom to travel that we didn’t have before, but I was fibbing a bit. We had that freedom of inexpensive travel when we tent camped like the people in this photo. The freedom that the camper gave us was the ability to travel almost all year long. With the tent trailer, we can travel even with temperatures as low as 28 degrees. We could have never done that in a tent because I froze every night the temperatures dipped below 45 degrees and that was in our nice Springbar tent.

I love this picture because the tent has a solar panel and the kids are just climbing the trees like monkeys. I don’t want to go back to tent camping, but I do love seeing a well-pitched tent.

February 25, 2014

What I Love About RVing

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

Interstellar Orchard wrote an entry about what she loved about RVing and it really inspired me to talk about what I love. Here’s her post:

What I Love About RVing from Starling Travel

I’m not a full-time RVer like she is, so when we pull out the trailer, it’s strictly for travel and adventure, not about a lifestyle. That said, I find an incredible amount of joy in that tiny tent trailer and I thought I share it with you.

We Bring Our Home With Us

One of the most unpleasant parts of traveling for me was getting used to the hotel room. A hotel room never feels like home. It never feels comfortable to me. I’m not bothered by people in the rooms nearby, but the bed feels different and the pillow doesn’t smell like me.

Okay, that sounded totally gross, but never discount the animal instincts of smell.

With the trailer, it feels like home to me. The cleanly washed sheets are my own. The surroundings are very comforting, despite the old 90s decor. Once that trailer is popped up, any campground feels like home.

Eating Is Easier

With the trailer, we can cook almost anything that we could cook at home. We don’t have a fancy microwave or fridge in the trailer, but a cooler and a hot plate works for almost every one of our favorite recipes.

More importantly, before the trailer, I always felt as if I were at the mercy of whatever restaurants were around. Honestly, it was a huge source of stress for me. Knowing that I can whip up a meal at the campground makes vacationing more relaxing for me because I don’t worry about what I’m going to eat.

It’s Cheaper, So We Can Travel More Often

With the Prius and the Subaru XV, we get about 30 mpg while towing the trailer, so bringing the trailer hardly affects our gasoline costs. However, being able to set up the camper at a KOA or state park usually costs about 25 bucks or so, whereas a hotel usually costs about $70 (or more). We can plan more trips with the trailer than we could when we had to depend on hotels.

Additionally, being able to cook at the campground saves us a bunch of money. It’s not just the worry of eating at restaurants that bothers me, it’s the cost. We save money with every meal made on that hot plate in the camper.

I would rather travel more often than travel in luxury. I can do that with all the money we save by using the camper.

We Can Travel To More Places

There are some places where there just ISN’T a hotel: down by the river in the woods, up in the mountains by the reservoir, and right next to Disney World at Camp Wilderness. I have seen fireflies flashing in front of my face while I ate burgers that Mike grilled for me. I have enjoyed watching water-skiers and heard them screaming, “Woo!” during my morning breakfast and coffee. I have shivered next to a fire that’s crackling and smelling like a good Scotch, eager for its warmth.

I couldn’t have had those experiences at Holiday Inn. Not even a room with a balcony overlooking the ocean could compete with some of those experiences, especially when I know that I could be camping at the campground that is RIGHT on the beach.

One Day Camping Feels Like Three Days

My friend Matt Strebe once said to us, “One day of camping feels like three days.” I think that might have been because there weren’t any showers at that campground, so we all SMELLED like it had been three days.

He’s right, though. When we are camping, time seems to slow down. We don’t have a TV in the trailer, so that might be why we feel like there is more time. I always feel like I don’t get enough travel time, but camping extends things a bit, making it feel longer.

I Love RVing

In the end, I love to hitch up the tent trailer and start driving. I look forward to it, even when it’s just a two-day jaunt for the weekend. I’m so glad that we bought that cheap trailer, even though something breaks every time we take it out, because it gives us a freedom that we didn’t have before. That’s why I love RVing.

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